If you plan to see children at your dental office — and you should, because that's a great way to build lifelong patients — you need to do some work to cater to children and make your office inviting to them. Here are some tips you can use to create a child-friendly dental office.
1. Create an inviting waiting room.
Your reception area is the first place your patients see when they visit. You have probably already invested in some comfortable furniture and décor, so why not add some elements that appeal to kids as well? Create a small toy and book area with kid-sized seating. Play some animated films for kids to watch. You might even add an aquarium, which creates a calming environment for kids and adults alike.
2. Explain treatments in language kids can understand.
Make sure to introduce yourself and treat kids with respect, and then explain what you're doing. Tell them about the special camera you're using to X-ray their teeth, for example. Let them see the equipment you're using and ask questions about it. Be open and friendly.
3. Create child-friendly treatment rooms.
Consider adding children's posters or even television screens above dental chairs in children's treatment rooms. Perhaps let children bring a special toy or stuffed animal into the treatment room with them.
4. Provide choices when possible.
Children feel empowered when you give them choices. Ask which flavor of fluoride they would like or which color toothbrush. Give them a choice of stickers at the end of their visit. These seem like small things, but they mean a lot to kids.
5. Book family appointments.
Be respectful of a family's time by offering to book siblings' and parents' appointments at the same time with two separate hygienists.
6. Help parents prepare.
When you send reminders about upcoming appointments, you may want to send an article about how to prepare children for a first appointment at your office. This will help ensure children are calm and know what to expect.
7. Make going to the dentist fun.
Stay connected with kids by creating some fun programs like coloring contests. Put pictures of kids up in your office (with parental permission, of course). You might even send a monthly newsletter with word searches and other games to kids' parents.
8. Promote your child-friendly office on social media.
Let parents know your office is kid-friendly in all of your advertising. Use Facebook, Twitter, your website and other avenues to show that you have an inviting waiting room and offer treatment geared specifically toward kids.
9. Consider outreach programs.
If you really want to establish yourself as an area dentist that caters to children, consider speaking to local parents' groups and schools. Get involved in charities like candy buy-back programs, and find other ways to gain exposure to potential clients.
10. Create dedicated kids' treatment rooms.
Consider designating a couple treatment rooms as kids' rooms, with brightly colored walls, kids' posters and even an extra chair or two for parents to sit.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us anytime!
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